Common Core Standards are About Pedagogy Not Standards

Common Core Standards are About Pedagogy Not Standards

Too many people are complaining about the Common Core standards and time is running out to do something. It doesn’t require much at all, but it is all that is left to do at this point. AND it is SIMPLE.

I am urging anyone with a computer, or access to one to submit comments regarding Arizona’s K-12 Mathematics and English Language Arts Standards. They must visit

The deadline to weigh-in is Friday.

Please consider insisting that the State follow the guidelines created by The Mommy Lobby. They say that academic standards should:

  1. Be grade level and developmentally appropriate;
  2. Be clear, concise, objective, and measurable;
  3. Not require a specific teaching methodology or curriculum; and
  4. Be consistent with the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Arizona


Supporters of Common Core frequently argue that opponents cannot cite a specific standard to which they object. Opponents argue that if the standards only included standards there would be little to object to. The rest of us either 1) wonder what they are both talking about; 2) heard that Common Core is a miracle cure for what ails public education; or 3) know them to be or the bane of our kids, grandkids, neighbors’ kids’ existence.

The idea that opponents cannot cite a single standard that is objectionable is false. The claim that most of the standards would be acceptable if they were true standards – and only standards – is true. No one knows yet if they are a cure for all that ails education, but the standards and the high stakes testing that comes with them are making a lot of kids sick.

So what are the standards and what’s the problem?

Simply put: standards define the skill to be taught, curriculum is the books and other materials school choose with which to teach that standard, and pedagogy is the method a teacher uses to get kids to master the standard.

Common Core blurred the line between standards and curriculum and blended them together.

In the state of Arizona, the State sets standards, local school boards select curriculum, and teachers figure out a way to make kids – all kids in their classroom – learn the standard through the approved curriculum… and sometimes outside the curriculum.

Sounds too basic? It is basic, and for years the system has worked and our country has produce more Nobel Laureates that any other country in the world. Unfortunately the Common Core crafters have dumbed down our standards.

Again, just for clarity: standard tells an educator that they must teach students to master this-or-that skill. A standard pre-Common Core standard might read: Add and subtract numbers up to 20. As you can see above, under Common Core, standards now include essentially pedagogy and curriculum. It is clear that voters wanted teachers and school boards to have that control or they would not have elected Douglas, who ran against the Common Core scheme.

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